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Have you ever ridden a fully rigid mtb in anger?

NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
edited January 2010 in MTB general
Just thinking about this today... I picked up some of those Exotic carbon forks for the Soul, as an alternative to its Revs, and gave them their first proper outing today. Nothing very exciting, a snow ride in the pentlands which saw me get both wheels off the ground maybe twice... But, what a great ride! Very simple trails, usually a little dull, but without the suspension they become that much more interesting... And the whole character of the bike changes, the feeling of snap and response is fantastic though obviously there's a huge tradeoff of capability. But, as an option, it's pretty nice to have.

Made me wonder though... I learned to ride when suspension was pretty much in its infancy, you could get an Activator but everything else was unobtanium... So I had a nice tange tubed rigid, which I rode everything on. And I'm not going to say it's better than a hardtail or full suss, just different, but it seems like there's a whole generation of riders who've never ridden a full rigid. Plenty even consider a hardtail to be weird and backwards.

And that seems like a shame. Again, not because it's something you have to do, but just because it could be that loads of other people would love it as much as I do, but will never know.

So... Have you ridden a decent rigid? Any intention to? The cost of a good fork is under £100, and it takes 10 minutes to swap one over if you have a nice hardtail, and you instantly transform your next ride...
Uncompromising extremist
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Posts

  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    yes. all the way through the late '80s. and most of the 90's.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Ah, the other question I should have said was, do you still? Or is it in the same category as flexstems and crudclaws and such
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    That's the thing - 'better' is so subjective when looking at overall bikes. Some we may be able to quantify as lighter, pedal more efficiently, more adjustable, better over the bumps and even faster - but fun ye can't.

    I've had the zaskar fully rigid before, and the most fun I've ever had on a bike was on a £200 rigid Scott an old shop had as a 'staff' bike. And a kids rigid giant we found in the bushes!

    A lot of my riding doesn't revolve around the quickest solution from A to B as I do rest a lot and like to get off and look at things. But light weight I do appreciate (can ride further before getting knackered, easier to hop, much easier climbing), and the general better efficiency of pedalling of a HT. Rigid bikes still have their place for more than one reason.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    Northwind wrote:
    Ah, the other question I should have said was, do you still? Or is it in the same category as flexstems and crudclaws and such

    no.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    Northwind wrote:
    Have you ever ridden a fully rigid mtb in anger?
    Yes, late 80's and early 90's, then a gap of a few years off bikes, then back onto a full rigid from 97-02.

    Couldn't ride a rigid bike for long nowadays due to a medical condition.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    Andy_B wrote:

    Couldn't ride a rigid bike for long nowadays due to a medical condition.

    Age?
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • ravey1981ravey1981 Posts: 1,111
    edited January 2010
    My first "proper" mtb was a muddy fox in the early nineties (im 28 ) which was fully rigid and although low spec at the time (Altus gears etc) it was an awesome bike. Before that I had a 24" wheel kids mtb which I rode on a lot of the same trails i ride on today. It was "upgraded" with some brahma bars (the one piece bars and bar ends) I loved it

    I can't say that I would ever want to go back to fully rigid though, I understand you're point about new riders thinking that FS is the only way to go. Although I have a FS I also have a couple of hardtails (and some road bikes) and I enjoy riding them all.
  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    nicklouse wrote:
    Andy_B wrote:

    Couldn't ride a rigid bike for long nowadays due to a medical condition.

    Age?
    lol that was nearly a cup of tea wasted on the monitor....

    Nope, this
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    Ohhhhh

    old age. for people that are not old.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • colintravcolintrav Posts: 1,074
    Northwind wrote:
    Just thinking about this today... I picked up some of those Exotic carbon forks for the Soul, as an alternative to its Revs, and gave them their first proper outing today. Nothing very exciting, a snow ride in the pentlands which saw me get both wheels off the ground maybe twice... But, what a great ride! Very simple trails, usually a little dull, but without the suspension they become that much more interesting... And the whole character of the bike changes, the feeling of snap and response is fantastic though obviously there's a huge tradeoff of capability. But, as an option, it's pretty nice to have.

    Made me wonder though... I learned to ride when suspension was pretty much in its infancy, you could get an Activator but everything else was unobtanium... So I had a nice tange tubed rigid, which I rode everything on. And I'm not going to say it's better than a hardtail or full suss, just different, but it seems like there's a whole generation of riders who've never ridden a full rigid. Plenty even consider a hardtail to be weird and backwards.

    And that seems like a shame. Again, not because it's something you have to do, but just because it could be that loads of other people would love it as much as I do, but will never know.

    So... Have you ridden a decent rigid? Any intention to? The cost of a good fork is under £100, and it takes 10 minutes to swap one over if you have a nice hardtail, and you instantly transform your next ride...


    I've still got 2 full frame bikes ... one Alu the other steel ... both which I'll keep long as I can ....

    Whilst i've bought another Bike which I'll be collecting soon I've noticed that every bike on the market always seem to have standard front sus ... Do manufacturers really think every tom censored n harry all want a bike with suspension ....
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    nicklouse wrote:
    yes. all the way through the late '80s. and most of the 90's.

    Same here. Wouldn't go back to fully rigid if you paid me.
    Give a home to a retired Greyhound. Tia Greyhound Rescue
    Help for Heroes
    JayPic
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 21,122
    Early 90's until I bought a set of pace forks!

    I have now got a rigid Kona singlespeed & whilst it can do Llandegla (inc Blacks), I have to give it some TLC afterwards. Because either I am not as nimble or the trails have got a lot more extreme! To be honest its a bit of both :(
  • KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
    I only ride fully rigid, and I absolutely love it! I am in no hurry when I am out on the bike, I ride fast enough, and over terrain rough enough to bring a big smile to my face (usually UK reds and mild blacks)

    It is also a massive help when riding with my OH as she isn't frustratingly much slower than I am when she rides with Toras and I have my instigators :wink: Though recently she is starting to lay off the brakes so I am getting a nice workout :D
  • I have a full sus bike but still use the rigid singlespeed for most of my riding.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Still have my fully rigid British Eagle Strike (1994 vintage) and 1997 steel Stumpy. The Strike is pretty knackered and just for shopping (no one will nick it!) but the Stumpy is still going strong and is a brilliant machine. Super light, steel so has some natural spring and has survived some big crashes with no more than a few scratches. When you get in "the flow" on it along some fast singletrack, it's brilliant.

    The 2007 Stumpy is better to ride (alu, Fox forks) but the older one is definitely more durable.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    nicklouse wrote:
    yes. all the way through the late '80s. and most of the 90's.


    ^ what he said :D
  • I used to go out on local mtb club rides on a fully rigid cindercone. My wrists used to ache afterwards due to them constantly taking the force of the bumps. Suspension forks were a blessing when they became more affordable/reliable etc. I think I still prefer a hardtail to a full suss bike, but would only have a fully rigid bike for occassional use.
  • CycloRosCycloRos Posts: 579
    I've just bought a secondhand Haro Mary SS (fully rigid 29er) mainly to use over the winter months and it was brilliant down in Portreath blasting round the singletrack. I can honestly say I didn't notice the lack of suspension although the larger wheels probably had something to do with it.

    I'm yet to tackle any of my local loops on it and it's going to be interesting to see which one of my steads gets the most use over the coming months
    Current Rides -
    Charge Cooker, Ragley mmmBop, Haro Mary SS 29er
    Pics!
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    I turned my old bike into a rigid for commuting and general hack bike. Every now and then I'd do a quick loop in the woods while on my way home and ended up loving it and now building up a better rigid bike.

    The trails are pretty smooth and consist of tight twisty single track. For this kind of terrain the rigid is awesome. But I think that if I took it anywhere else that was more bumpy I might get a bit fed up of it.
  • My last MTB (And maybe the next one too) was a 29er single speed and rigid. Thats how I want to go again. I have tried XC full sus, then went to XC hardtail, single speed, single speed rigid 26er finally to rigid, single speed 29er.
    Oh, that 29er....soo much more fun! Ok, so you don't have the luxury of the suspension to get you out of trouble, but the wheels roll over most things anyway. Oh, I miss that bike... :cry:
    jedster wrote:
    Just off to contemplate my own mortality and inevitable descent into decrepedness.
    FCN 3 or 4 on road depending on clothing
    FCN 8 off road because I'm too old to go racing around.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    Back in the day (yawn...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) rigid was all there was. The 'trails' were strictly non-technical and it was just fantastic to be able to ride a bicycle off-road without it getting stuck or falling to bits.

    I had a couple of ATBs to begin with but when I got a Bobcat Trail I went everywhere on it - all over Scotland, Wales (Coed-y-Brenin was just a clearing in the forest) - there was no need for suspension.
  • Salsarider, that's good to read.

    I've had a couple of rides on a rigid bike, a very old raleigh that has been a lot of fun, but felt ta little too twitchy for me to be comfortable. But I'm looking forward to riding my new bike when it arrives. I couldn't budget for 29er suspension forks for now, so I'll certainly be riding rigid for a while. So I'm looking forward to see how it feels.

    To be honest, I rather think going singlespeed makes you think about the trail more than rigid does, but it often seems the two go together now...

    Nice to try something different anyway, and I think it can help you tune an area of your riding.
    Proved by testing to be faster than a badger.
    The world's ultimate marmite bike
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    My first 10 years mountain biking were all fully rigid. I built a carbon rigid bike last year but have converted it to HT. Mostly then I was riding the chilterns and around Oxford, but I also spent 3 months in the states in the rockies and in Moab so you certainly don't need to restrict the trails you ride (although admittedly some of these newfangled free-ridey trails are maybe too much on a rigid for all but the most skilled rider)

    fully rigid can certainly make your "boring" local trails interesting again offering new challenges where you didn't think there were any and I believe it makes your path selection better.

    A decent steel fork can be had for less than 50 quid and will be stiff as hell (not all the carbon ones are, my Nuke proof certainly wasn't, which is a major reason I swapped it out) well worth the experiment if you have a few extra quid (and will save you shiny sus fork over the winter aswell)
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • CFSCFS Posts: 124
    I've had a rigid steel Trek since 95 and it's still going strong.

    It really gets used for commuting now but I sometimes do a bit of singletrack on the way home.

    The main thing I have noticed is how the geometry has changed, it is more stretched out and more challenging to ride than my hard tail or FS on Technical stuff.

    The cantilever brakes are a bit scary after disks too !
    Shot by both sides...
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    A decent steel fork can be had for less than 50 quid and will be stiff as hell (not all the carbon ones are, my Nuke proof certainly wasn't, which is a major reason I swapped it out) well worth the experiment if you have a few extra quid (and will save you shiny sus fork over the winter aswell)

    I think the Nukeproof/Exotic forks (same fork, different logos, different pricetag ;) ) has had a fair amount of effort put into making it not stiff. Think that's why I like it more than steel ones. Combined with a carbon bar it seems to take some of the beating out of being rigid.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • MacAndCheeseMacAndCheese Posts: 1,944
    I haven't ridden fully rigid on the trails for a while..last was 98 Kona Lava Dome back at the turn of the century so don't remember much. I occasionally take my old bobcat trail off the road, but its pretty horrible. This is more to do with 10 year old geometry, would definitely be interesting to try a new bike with rigid forks for a giggle.
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Orange Alpine 160
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    Northwind wrote:
    A decent steel fork can be had for less than 50 quid and will be stiff as hell (not all the carbon ones are, my Nuke proof certainly wasn't, which is a major reason I swapped it out) well worth the experiment if you have a few extra quid (and will save you shiny sus fork over the winter aswell)

    I think the Nukeproof/Exotic forks (same fork, different logos, different pricetag ;) ) has had a fair amount of effort put into making it not stiff. Think that's why I like it more than steel ones. Combined with a carbon bar it seems to take some of the beating out of being rigid.

    yeah verticall I could buy this explanation, but laterally I just didn't find the NP one stiff at all. I have an old Identity tapered steel fork that is as good at trail buzz but so SO much stiffer laterally, but it's too short for a modern frame (non-sus corrected) and weighs in at a very portly 1400gr :shock: so in the end I caved and put a SID on. Haven't looked back, it's what the frame is made for, I can feel it. Doesn't mean I wouldn't ride another rigid bike though, but lateral stiffness in the fork needs to be there and the (straight leg) carbon ones I've tried just do't have it

    and NP are demonstrably better than exotic forks. They have nuke symbols on them and everything :D:wink: :P
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • CpsCps Posts: 356
    I built up my SS last year with NP forks and rode it everywhere - but as I have no idea how much punishment the forks would take (jumps/drop offs etc) I always rode with caution.


    I recently changed to Rebas and everything has become a lot more fun.


    When I do stick the NP's back on It will probably be with a 29" to make it a clown bike!
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 3,695
    Learned on one, raced on one in Mid 80's, throughout Essex, Suffolk, S.Wales.
    Was dusky red Coyote. Mrs called it my pink bike...

    Just put Kona rigid fork onto Norco hardtail. Was amazed at what it can handle, but with Thudbuster, due to my over half-century butt!
  • YIManYIMan Posts: 576
    I bought a fully rigid Orange C16 in 1997, and didn't fit front suspension until 2000. That's 3 years and a lot of riding...when I really did do a lot of riding..of fully rigid biking.

    Now I wonder how I'd cope without full suspension - rode a hardtail along a corrugated dusty track in November in Lanzarote - that was a painful experience!
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